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Summary Care Record a year behind schedule, DH warns

The Department of Health is calling for ‘rapid progress’ on the rollout of the Summary Care Record after the latest figures showed it was a year behind schedule.

Figures obtained by Pulse show a total of 13.1 million records had been created by 22 March 2012 – the level the DH expected for April last year.

The figures – described by one GP as a ‘defeat from the jaws of victory’ – have prompted David Flory, deputy NHS chief executive, to call for ‘rapid further progress’ on the rollout.

In his latest quarterly report on NHS performance, Mr Flory highlighted the SCR as an area for improvement.

Mr Flory said: ‘Implementation does not meet expectations and rapid further progress is needed.’

‘While performance has improved, the rate of this improvement is beneath the expected trajectory.’

Data in the report showed although the number of patients with an SCR has almost doubled from around 7m a year ago, only 16 PCTs had a ‘critical mass’ of over 60% of patients with an SCR.

A DH spokesperson confirmed that the figures were below expectations, and that improvement was a priority: ‘We want patients in England to be able to benefit from the SCR as soon as possible and are working closely with the NHS to make this happen.’

The distribution of public information packs alerting patients to the rollout was suspended in June 2010, after the BMA said the packs did not adequately inform patients about their right to opt out.

Rollout resumed last year, but Dr Grant Ingrams, past chair of the GPC’s IT subcommittee and a GP in Coventry, said that the programme had prioritised the wrong applications.

‘They should have just rolled out it out as a basic tool, but instead they tried to sell it for the wrong reasons, like emergency care.’

‘SCR is most useful in GP out-of-hours and hospital wards, to check what drugs a new patient is on.’

‘Despite a huge among of time and money spent on it, the feeling is they are about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.’